Mandolin Withdrawl


#1

I took my mandolin in to see about getting it set up. I have had it for probably 30 years, but it sat for a long time until I found Banjo Ben. The frets were getting notches,especially A and E. So it’s been 3 weeks, I guess there is a backlog. I am going to forget everything I’ve worked on the past year!!! :astonished:
If this lasts much longer I’ll have to get out an old frailing banjo I picked up for $50 decades ago, or maybe play my bass fiddle! I’m getting too old for this. Every minute is precious!!! :smiley:


#2

About 6 weeks ago, after installing a new garage door opener, I noticed I had a real sharp pain in my elbow. I tried to ignore it and continued playing both the mandolin and guitar for a couple of hours every night. It got worse, alot worse. It’s taken me weeks to break the habit of grabbing an instrument the moment I get home, but I think finally I’ve done it.

I’m in day 2 of no music at all, and it seems like it has helped the elbow a little bit. I hope I can resist for a couple of weeks, see if it cures me. And if not, I’ll go see a doctor. From what I’ve read about tendonitis, tennis elbow, and golfers elbow (I think what I have is this last one), they don’t do much except recommend rest, ice, and ibuprofen anyway unless it’s gotten so bad that surgery is needed, which is why I haven’t already made an appointment.

Music is addictive. I guess I’m doing some badly needed work on my vocals for a while. And when I return I hope I can get back to both instruments. If I have to pick one, it will be the guitar where 80% of what I do is fingerpicking, which doesn’t seem to stress my arm anywhere near as much as the relentless up and down of the mandolin.


#3

Sorry to hear that Jim. I had a persistent and debilitating elbow problem years back. The doctor didn’t do much for me on it, but a sports massage therapist (I probably have her title wrong) tracked down an atrophied muscle on my triceps (likely from a bike wreck). It was a tiny support muscle, but without it, my bones weren’t sitting as they should and exercise caused inflammation of lots of elbow parts. She worked on it and related items and gave me some exercises to do. Within a month I was working back into climbing, playing music, pretty much whatever. If I were in your shoes, I’d be looking for someone similar. The cost is nominal, but the potential help is great. She saved me thousands of dollars and many, many lost months. Most importantly, the end result is perfect. If I had ended up down the surgical path, the end result couldn’t have been better or quicker than what the sports massage therapist did. BTW, I’m not trying to knock MDs. They are priceless in the right circumstance.


#4

Thanks Mike. I think if I do go the Physical Therapist route and I get a referral from my Primary Care Doctor I won’t have to pay for any of it, save maybe a small co-payment.

I’ll likely need to see the Primary first to get that referral. If I’m able to say that I’ve rested for a couple of weeks before I go in I’m hoping we can just cut to the chase. Otherwise he’ll probably start by sending me back home again with the rest and ice advice.

We’ll see what happens,but it’s been so hard not to pick up an instrument as soon as I get home at night.


#5

BTW, I did a little memory jogging and her title was indeed a “Sports Massage Therapist.” I think I spent 3 sessions with her at about $30 or $40 a session. The best bang for my medical dollars ever. If I still had her contact info, I’d be inclined to send her Christmas and birthday cards.


#6

My first PT session is tonight. And the co-pay is a whooping $40. I guess I can afford it. While I’ve been waiting I’ve been doing several stretching exercises, some curls, reverses,and rotational exercises (with a hammer!). And I just got one of those ‘Flexbars’ and doing the ‘Tyler Twist’. It’s supposed to be highly effective. I’m only 4 days into that bit, but I swear it’s helping a little. We 'll see what the Therapists have to say.


#7

Good deal. I’m glad to hear you are on your way back. I felt funny “pumping iron” with a can of corn and other small items. That’s what was directed, that’s what I did and it worked great.


#8

— Begin quote from "Super 55"

I am going to forget everything I’ve worked on the past year!!!

— End quote

I know you were joking, but maybe with a slight amount of truth.

I’ve found that a break like that actually helps my playing. Sometimes, when I’m on the road (even though I always have a guitar with me), I get so busy and go for periods of time with no playing at all. When I get back to playing, I sometimes surprise myself and feel like I’m playing better than I did before. It takes a little while (45 minutes - 1 hour) to get limbered up and get my hands, fingers and wrists working right again, but once that kicks in, it’s like there was no time missed at all.

The hardest part for me is the sheer loss of joy of not getting to play. I wouldn’t worry, nothing will be forgotten.

BTW: I do have a mandolin for sale if you need a spare in such a crisis as this! :wink:


#9

2 weeks into my therapy now (I was out of the Country last week and missed the treatments) . It includes a bunch of exercises, deep massage, then they stick these pads on me and send electrical stimulation to my arm. They have all these gadgets for measuring the range of motion in all directions in my wrists and they found I have about 20% less in my right, picking hand compared to my left hand.

Doing this twice a week, and lots of stretching and some of the other exercises daily in between sessions. After 10 weeks of no progress, I’m feeling like about 85% better already since starting on this new program. I picked up my guitar for the first time last night, that’s still my main instrument. And yikes, I have forgotten an awful lot of stuff. I haven’t played at all in nearly 2 months, the longest stretch in over 30 years. I didn’t even look at the mandolin yet, maybe tonight I’ll give it a very short go. I’m hoping this freshness JW mentions will show up, no sign of that last night! I was working on Lyle Lovett’s "Natural Forces’ when I had to put it away, and I never really had that song pinned down anyway, Naybe I should stick to my older material for now.


#10

I’m glad to hear you are on the path back!